The city of La Quinta should be commended for its fair and equitable approach to handling the short-term vacation rental (STVR) issue.
In a world where one small group of people can impact the lives of so many, La Quinta has wisely decided that a compromise for all is the best solution and that we can coexist.
On the anti-STVR group’s website, they list reasons for why STVRs should be banned from R1 zones. Many of these claims are inaccurate or without current factual data.
For example, they claim that unconstrained growth of STVRs continues to 16% saturation within La Quinta, overwhelming many neighborhoods (Cove, North La Quinta, and HOAs without STVR restrictions).
This claim as well as the majority of the “statistical numbers” posted by the group are completely outdated. The city has been diligently cleaning up the STVR program since January 2021 and has published the 2021 Annual Report with accurate data which shows that the hard work is bearing fruit.
A comprehensive version of this report is on the city's website for STVRs, LaQuintaCA.gov/connect/short-term-vacation-rentals, and is titled "STVR 2021 – Program Summary."
Reported complaints peaked in Q-2 & decreased 75% by Q-4. As the year went on, most complaints were about properties without an STVR permit.
And 70% of all 2021 citations were issued for administrative matters (i.e., paperwork) and not disturbances.
Unpermitted properties are 30-day rentals, people renting their properties illegally or homeowners who move out during special events and rent them out for the music festivals and tennis tournament to generate cash.
For 30-day rentals, owners are not required to have a permit, do not have to abide by the STVR mandates and are not tracked by the city.
It is irresponsible for any group to label owners of STVRs as profiteers or greedy corporations unless they somehow have access to their financial information and can back up these claims with facts.
The fact is that the majority of these homes have been passed down to individuals through a family trust or are second homes. This can be verified by looking up the list of STVRs on the City’s website.
Recently, Palm Desert also grappled with an STVR ban. Rather than compromising, the city allowed a small group of people to impact the lives of homeowners, businesses and many neighborhoods.
Now the majority of the pristine STVRs have turned into full-time, unkempt rentals with multiple people living in them clogging the streets with their cars.
So is it appropriate to allow the needs of one group to affect the lives of many? To push homeowners who have invested so much just before retirement to sell their properties, turn them into 30-day rentals or full-time rentals?
Or is it more democratic to look at the STVRs on a case-by-case basis, judging them on merit?
The recent statistics provided by the city of La Quinta, after it made changes to its STVR program in an effort to compromise and include all sides, show that the majority of the problems come from 30-day or illegal rentals, not from STVRs playing by the rules.
If we can allow the city to continue reviewing data to make improvements to the STVR program, STVRs will naturally reduce in number, ultimately be phased out and replaced by 30-day or full-time rentals.
Adi Gross lives in Palm Desert and runs a vacation rental firm. Email Adi at [email protected]
Source: Desert Sun
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